California Hit By Rising Fuel Prices Due To Supply Issues

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
california hit by rising fuel prices due to supply issues

While most of the United States enjoys fuel prices under $3 per gallon, the West Coast can’t say the same, especially California.

The average fuel price in the U.S. is currently $2.772/gal. per the AAA, Bloomberg reports, but a combination of factors have pushed California’s average to $3.809.

The first involves a series of refinery shutdowns up and down the West Coast, including an explosion at an Exxon refinery in Torrance, Calif., and a recent fire at a U.S. Oil and Refining facility in Tacoma, Wash. Other units are closed for repairs.

The second is the state’s pipeline network. The one-way system delivers gasoline to Arizona and Nevada, but is otherwise cut-off from other pipeline networks in the U.S. Thus, the only way for the state to receive its fuel supply when the chips are down — a supply specially made for the state’s own set of emission standards — is by tanker deliveries from Asia and Europe.

At present, Los Angeles motorists are feeling the most pain at the pump, paying nearly $4/gal. AAA spokesman Michael Green says prices in the city are rising faster “than anywhere else in the country,” and will remain at the top until late summer.

The regional volatility issues do offer a possible silver lining: The U.S. government is studying how sudden jumps in prices could affect the nation’s economy, and is considering whether to build a fuel reserve for the West Coast in case of major supply disruptions.

[Photo credit: Joe Wolf/ Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0]

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  • An innocent man An innocent man on May 20, 2015

    Based solely on my annoyance at having to use the new CaliSpec portable gas containers, I say anything bad that happens to that state, they deserve.

    • See 2 previous
    • Cal325 Cal325 on May 21, 2015

      @Hummer Thats not true for all of us. I want to be able to afford to put gas in my car to drive the canyons. I shake my head at those people too. Just so you know most of California is pretty normal. The people in San Francisco and LA ruin it for everyone else

  • Indi500fan Indi500fan on May 20, 2015

    Cal also has state Cap & Tax in place. That would have been a great strategy for the country as a whole (at least for govt enjoying the revenue without public backlash) as the increasing gas and electricity prices would be blamed on evil big oil and big utilities. But when only one state has it, the poor citizen suckers can look across the state borders and realize what is actually happening.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on May 20, 2015

      Sounds like the contagion was limited to the PRK, I'd say its a win.

  • Due to Liberal, Greener, Environmentalist problems... The state is LITERALLY Drying Up. Imagine if the idiots used Nuclear Powerplants to desalinate drinkable water while producing electricity.

  • Stevelovescars Stevelovescars on May 21, 2015

    Environmental regulations have truly made CA a much more livable place in the past 40 years. However, some of the CARB regulations seem to have gone far beyond the point of diminishing returns. I have no idea how much of a difference the different gasoline formulation makes in emissions, but I wonder if anyone has really studied it? Would matching the formula used in surrounding states really make any noticeable difference in emissions? From a quick search ( I see that the formula most recently adopted by the CARB (in 2007) were aimed primarily at counteracting the effects of evaporative emissions due to the Federal mandate for higher ethanol content in gasoline. Since the entire fleet of cars now has MUCH tighter controls on evaporative emissions today than they have ever had, is this still making any measurable difference?